Why do we have to consider between the 2 bays? Halong Bay is much more beautiful than what the word “beautiful” can express, so why does Lan Ha Bay appear here? This is because Lan Ha Bay, in the last decade, has become more and more attracted to tourists and gradually become a smart alternative for Halong Bay.
Lan Ha Bay is one area of the larger “Halong Bay region”. Specifically, the region includes Halong Bay in the center, Lan Ha Bay to the southwest.
Halong Bay is a so well-known travel destination in Quang Ninh Province, located in northeastern Vietnam. Administratively, the bay belongs to the area of Halong City,
2. Transportation methods
Getting from Hanoi to Lan Ha Bay
- Duration: 2 hours (though new highway)
- Unlike Halong bay where you can visit right from the Halong City, in order to visit Lan Ha Bay you need to go to Cat Ba island by speedboat or ferry. Cat Ba is the access point, from there you can continue your Lan Ha Bay trip.
- The transportation to Lan Ha is not much varied. The most popular and easiest way is to take a bus from Hanoi (it is easily booked with some transport companies. Then get on a speedboat (hydrofoil) to Cai Vieng port on Cat Ba Island (~30 minutes).
- There are many great cruise offer an opportunity to visit Lan Ha Bay and also provide transport service.
Getting from Hanoi to Halong
Duration: 3.5 – 4 hours
- Option 1: bus from Gia Lam or My Dinh Bus Station (Hanoi) to Bai Chay bus station (Halong city). Ticket fee from 100,000VND to 250,000VND ( $5 – $12).
- Option 2: shuttle bus (Hanoi local tour operator): Pick up & drop off passengers in the Hanoi old quarter: from $10 to $20/person/way.
- Option 3: private car: $140 (roundtrip, 7 – 16 seat car)
3. Special features
Lan Ha Bay is at the southern part of Halong Bay, you will have chance to get closer to local fishing life, and are less likely to see as many tour boats and ships passing, never need to worry about the crowd. Unlike its famous twin, Lan Ha Bay reserves a more pristine scenery with limestone mountains. Lan Ha is a peaceful sea with small fishing villages existing isolated from the rest of the world. Unlike Halong, the Lan Ha’s itinerary is quite flexible, which means you can do any water activities that you can imagine, jumping down from the boat, going fishing with local, doing kayaking to anywhere you desire to explore, diving or surfing.
Halong Bay is recognized as one of the 10 most beautiful bays in the world. The World’s heritage has many caves of different sizes and interiors. The number of the cave, until now, has not been confirmed yet; some of them have been named and famous worldwide while some are less known or even unknown. It is surrounded with the such marvelous green landscape and pristine environment.
4. Something to consider
Lan Ha Bay: The number of islands in Lan Ha Bay is less than that in Halong Bay, you don’t see “thousands of limestone islands” but about 400 small and large islands. All islands in Lan Ha Bay are covered with green trees or vegetation, even if it is a little island like a peninsula. Consider carefully and you will have your best experience ever.
Halong Bay: You know this famous place, find it so wonderful, so beautiful and definitely put it on your travel list. For this reason, this place is densely crowded with tourists from all places. The Halong Management Board applies a strict policy to cruises in the bay, each boat has to sail in a fix a route, tourists are not allowed to jump down water from the boat, only swim on beaches… Those, more or less, may affect your experience.
March – June, and October – November is the best time to visit both Halong and Lan Ha Bay when the sun mostly shines. From July to September, the temperature reaches its highest point, the weather might be very uncomfortable. Moreover, this is the high season of domestic tourism, so just expect locals around you.